G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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1. A more hackish The Story of O is causing a stir. 50 Shades of Grey, once an obscure book that was developed on Twilight fan fiction sites, titillates female readers with its BDSM themes and its dark-triad harboring main character. Some are surprised by the submission instinct of female readers:
“What I found fascinating is that there are all these supermotivated, smart, educated women saying this was like the greatest thing they’ve ever read,” said Meg Lazarus, a 38-year-old former lawyer in Scarsdale, whose friends and acquaintances have been buzzing about the book. “I don’t get it. There’s a lot of violence, and this guy is abhorrent sometimes.”
Look at what they read, not at what they say.
2. Father absence predicts age at sexual maturity and reproductive timing in British men. This is only the abstract, and I can’t find the full research. But it seems interesting as it finds that boys whose fathers are absent before the age of 7 experience earlier sexual reproduction. Boys whose fathers go absent later – between the age of 11 and 16 – experience delayed puberty, the research finds.
3. Joanna Schneider writes about “rape tag” – which is a game like freeze tag in which the kids playing the game have to hump each other in order to unfreeze – and wonders what it indicates about our society. She doesn’t believe that the game indicates that “rape culture” is thriving. I agree, but I’d take it a little further. I believe that a game like “rape tag” is the result of a society which openly talks about rape and flippantly labels as rape things which aren’t rape. Take the discussion over whether or not the Texas and Virginia transvaginal ultrasound bills are rape. TV shows discuss rape; rape cases are played out in the media; kids are taught about what rape is and how to avoid it. The direct cause of kids playing a game like “rape tag” is the increased discussion and awareness-raising of rape. So perhaps kids playing “rape tag” means that kids are hearing about something like rape but haven’t quite put together exactly what it is and why it’s bad. It’s just like when young boys play war. Most hear about how horrible war is, but they just want to play.
5. Speaking of which – why have engagement rings become more normalized across the past couple of generations even while men have marginally dropped out of the labor force? You’d figure that both would move in concert, but perhaps the fact that these trendlines are diverging (and I make the assumption that the average amount spent on engagement rings has increased over time and continues to increase) indicates the widely-discussed bifurcation into the Haves and Have-nots. But if it is seen as a good thing for the men of society to get married – which forces them to invest in society – then why does the cost of even entertaining the notion of getting married continue to rise?